Commissioner: Move Broomes

Barry Alleyne,

Added 20 November 2012

jeffbroomesatinquiry1

It’s official now. A recommendation has been made by Commissioner Frederick Waterman to have embattled principal of the Alexandra School, Jeff Broomes separated from the St Peter facility. That was the highlight of the Commissioner’s 15 recommendations required to bring back harmony to the school which were made public  earlier today, when the official 111-page report was laid in the House of Assembly. Along with recommending that Broomes be separated, as has been requested by the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union because of his management style, Commissioner Waterman also recommended that deputy principal of the school Beverly Neblett-Lashley be transferred to a similar post at another school. The laying of the report today ended a whirlwind 11 months for the school, which had started last January 20, when BSTU members withdrew their services, noting that Broomes’ decision to publicly criticize a colleague had been the straw that broke the camel’s back. In addition to recommending that Broomes be either compulsorily retired or moved to another section of the public service, the Commissioner recommended that the Education Regulations and the Public Service’s Code of Conduct be appropriately amended to ensure that any public criticism of teachers of their work by a principal, be expressly forbidden by law. It was Broomes’ public criticism of senior science teacher Amaida Greaves during last year’s Speech Day that drew the ire of the BSTU. Broomes had told parents that Greaves had not taught a chemistry class for almost an entire school term. Waterman noted that Greaves should also be given a written reprimand by the ministry for not carrying out a legal instruction from her supervisor, but because of her position of public officer, the issue of her not teaching is a matter for investigation and determination by the Public Service Commission. The Commissioner also recommended that the Ministry of Education should take steps to terminate the appointment of the principal’s cousin Roger Broomes. The retired judge noted that the part-time physical education teacher was unfit to be employed in a school environment. In his findings, Waterman was also extremely critical of elements within the Ministry of Education in how they dealt with the Alexandra impasse. He bemoaned the fact that the ministry was yet to act on recommendations of an inspection report done on Alexandra before this year’s industrial action by the BSTU. Commissioner Waterman also recommended that consideration be given to the strategic re-organization of the ministry and the refocusing of its staff with the aim of ensuring it operates proactively, and is more responsive to issues faced by boards of management of secondary schools in Barbados. The Commissioner recommended that ministry staff be also trained in alternative dispute resolution. Another recommendation was that teachers Vernell Woods and Abena Williams, who publicly supported Broomes during the commission of inquiry, but were called ‘yes people’ by BSTU president Mary-Anne Redman, be transferred to other schools in a convenient time. (BA) Full reports in tomorrow's MIDWEEK NATION

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